Bar the blurry footage, it’s hard to spot the difference between the equestrian extravaganza at the South of England Show in 1967, and what it is like today.
This year is the show’s 50th anniversary and to mark the occasion, archive footage of the first ever running in 1967 has been dug out. Cue crowds craning to see the best of what the British countryside has to offer; hounds, hunters, prize cattle and hair-raising displays. And this year (8-10 June 2017) will be no different.
Below: the showground in 1969
Over 1,500 horses and ponies will take part in the equestrian showcase at Ardingly, featuring dozens of classes from heavy horses and hackneys, to showjumping and inter-hunt relays.
In the main ring, one of Britain’s top equestrian stunt and trick team The Devil’s Horsemen will wow the crowds, performing breathtaking displays to music, dressed as Cossacks — and the Shetland pony Grand National will get hearts racing just as fast.
Below: the show in modern times
To celebrate the big anniversary, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall will visit the show on the opening day (Thursday 8 June).
“It’s an extremely special year for the Society and we hope that Her Royal Highness will enjoy some of the spectacular displays that will be featured across the showground,” says Charlie Burgoyne, chairman of the The South of England Agricultural Society. “During her visit she will meet some of the farmers and their livestock, talk to local school children and students from the region’s land-based colleges, as well as officially unveil an exciting permanent record of the Society’s achievements during the past 50 years.”
Gates open for this year’s show from 9am-6.30pm. There is free entry for under-16s, who are accompanied by a paying adult (£21) and for senior citizens and students over 16 tickets are £19. There is free parking and a regular bus shuttle service from Haywards Heath train station to the showground. Visit seas.org.uk to book your ticket
Film credit: Archive film from Screen Archive South East